How to Write Search Engine Optimized Page Titles

Jillean Kearney
Jillean Kearney
Nov 13, 2014

Page titles, or title tags in SEO speak, are one of the most important elements of on-page search engine optimization. A title tag accurately and concisely describes a web page's content.

Title tags appear in three important locations: search engine results pages (SERP), external websites (like social media) and browsers. A good title tag provides a good user-experience by accurately and concisely describing a web page's content. It should also follow best practices for SEO. Here's what you need to know about writing a user- and search engine-friendly title tag:

Title Tag Format

Most content management systems have a title field on each page to make it really easy to title every page on your site. If not, you can create title tags in HTML with the following code:


<title>Title Tag Example</title>


The optimal title tag format looks like this: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand

As for length, Google will pull in the first 50-60 characters of a title tag for its results pages. If a title tag is too long, Google will display an ellipsis to show that the rest of the title has been cut off. Moz has a really great tool that emulates how your title tag will appear on Google's search result page.

Important Keywords Come First

The closer a keyword is to the beginning of a title tag, the better Google ranks that page. It's also a lot more likely that a user will click on the result if they see the keyword right away.

Use Your Branding

Best practices indicates that brand names should be used at the end of a title tag, but it really depends on the brand. Sometimes, a well-known brand name can impact where its content ranks or click-through rates. For these bigger brands, their name should appear first. For smaller brands with less name recognition, the keyword should go first.

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